Before the Cause Célèbre of Kohver: Border Guard Recounts How He Was Abducted in 1992 ({{commentsTotal}})

The Luhamaa border checkpoint with Russia.
The Luhamaa border checkpoint with Russia. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

Upon seeing a TV program that noted that no one had been kidnapped from the Estonian-Russian border in 50 years, a former border guard wrote in to Eesti Päevaleht about a case in which he was seized in 1992.

"I was abducted on a side road between Meremäe and Luhamaa border guard stations in 1992 to create a precedent where an Estonian border guard was on Russian soil with a service weapon," wrote Eduard Oganjan.

In early September of this year, counterintelligence Eston Kohver was captured by Russian federal services near Luhamaa in what appeared to be an abduction from the Estonian side. And in the late 1930s, there were several kidnappings of fishermen and murders of border guards on Lake Peipsi.

In the 1992 case, Oganjan described himself as partially at fault due to inexperience. "I waved off the patrol and got into the border violators' car to take them to the border station. Luckily there was snow on the ground and the Russian cars had no central locking (of the doors) - so I managed to jump out as the car was in motion and escape to Estonian territory."

Oganjan, who is now retired, devoted the subsequent seven paragraphs largely to criticizing what he called the dismantling of the border guard, which he said was in sad shape compared to a "heyday" under Tarmo Kõuts in the late 1990s.

He said the officers back then were well-trained at Western academies, and that the border guard as it was then would have no problem re-establishing order on the Estonian-Russian border.